US President Joe Biden has honored several Democratic colleagues with the US’s highest civilian honor. Biden awarded the so-called Medal of Freedom on Friday at a ceremony in the White House, among others, to the former chairwoman of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. The Democrat was the first woman in US history to ascend to the most powerful post in Congress – from 2007 to 2011 and later again from 2019 to 2023. Biden praised Pelosi as courageous, brilliant and principled. She will go down in American history as the “greatest chairwoman of the House of Representatives” of all time.

Biden also honored former US Vice President Al Gore, former climate envoy and former US Secretary of State John Kerry, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the award. They too are Democrats, like Biden.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom honors people who have made a significant contribution “to the security or national interest of the United States, world peace, and cultural or other significant public concerns.” Biden had already given out several of the awards in 2022 during his term in office. Now he gave them to 19 other people. Among them were other current and former members of Congress, including from the Republican ranks, but also, for example, the actress Michelle Yeoh and the swimmer Kathleen Ledecky.